In order to continue the Ph.D. program beyond the second year, students must demonstrate that they have achieved competence in the three core areas of study: microeconomics (Econ 503-504), macroeconomics (Econ 501-502), and econometrics (Econ 5161-512).
Students can demonstrate competence in the following ways:
- By achieving course grades of A– or better in both semesters in a particular area, the student has demonstrated competence in that area.
- By obtaining a grade of "Ph.D. Pass" on the written preliminary examination (hereafter, prelim) in an area, the student has demonstrated competence in that area.
- The Department's Examination Committee, comprising the first year instructors and the Director of Graduate Studies (if not otherwise included), will review the students' performance after the first year. The committee can decide that students have achieved competence in all areas based on an overall evaluation of their performance in course work and preliminary examinations in all three areas. Strong mastery of at least one area (as evidenced by course work and/or the area prelim) will be treated as a positive factor in such an evaluation.
The written prelims are held in late August at the start of the student's second year. Dates for the prelims will be announced well in advance by the graduate secretary. Students will be informed before October whether they have demonstrated competency in all three areas of study. If, at that time, a student has not demonstrated competency in an area, the student may take a second prelim in that area. The second prelims will be held in December of the second year.
In extraordinary circumstances, an appeals process can be initiated, but only by a tenured faculty member. In such cases, the decision on the appeal will be made by the entire faculty. Students will be notified of the outcome of any appeal before the end of the spring semester of the second year.
A grade of "AM Pass" is also obtainable on the prelim. A grade of AM Pass in an area does not count as a demonstration of competence in that area, as required for admission beyond the second year of the Ph.D. program. But students who obtain a grade of AM Pass in all three areas will receive a master's degree if they also complete the other master's degree requirements.
Prelims for recent years are available from the graduate secretary.